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Ex-Sen. Boxer deregisters as agent for Chinese tech company after backlash; Guyana hires team that lobbied for winning presidential candidate; Dubai ruler’s son gets US agent: Tuesday’s Daily Digest

Ex-Sen. Boxer deregisters as lobbyist for Chinese tech company accused in Uyghur abuses

Aug. 13, 2019: Hikvision video surveillance cameras in Vilnius, Lithuania / Karolis Kavolelis / Shutterstock

California Democrat Barbara Boxer is deregistering as a foreign agent for a Chinese technology company accused of posing a cybersecurity risk and enabling human rights abuses after news of her involvement sparked an immediate backlash.

The former senator had registered as a foreign agent for Hikvision (US), the US affiliate of the Chinese video surveillance giant accused of helping Beijing spy on the Muslim Uyghur minority in China’s western province of Xinjiang. But she wrote in a tweet Tuesday afternoon that she had had second thoughts after seeing the response to her filing with the US Department of Justice.

“Due to the intense response to my registration I have determined that my continued work has become a negative distraction from my effort to preserve American jobs and make the company better,” Boxer wrote. “Therefore I have deregistered.”

Read the story here.

Guyana hires team that lobbied for winning presidential candidate

Guyana’s new government has hired a trio of lobbyists whose firms represented the winning side in last year’s bitterly contested presidential election in the newly oil-rich South American country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has signed a six-month, $25,000-per-month contract with The Cormac Group and its joint venture Otto Reich Associates. The two firms lobbied last year for a New York nonprofit close to the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) in the presidential race that saw PPP candidate Irfaan Ali emerge victorious.

Read the story here.

New lobbying filings


Japan: Quinn & Co. of NY ended its representation of the Setouchi Tourism Authority in June 2020. The firm had provided PR services for the coastal region that includes Hiroshima since 2017.

South Korea: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer has registered senior counsel L. Charles Landgraf on its account with South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Investment and Energy. The firm signed a $330,000 agreement with the ministry for legal services through 2020 in February.


Scotland: The US offices of public agency Scottish Enterprise received $2.4 million from headquarters in Glasgow in the six months through November to promote business development in Scotland. Executives Michelle Sim and Kevin Reynolds terminated their registrations on June 30 and Dec. 4, respectively.

Middle East

Egypt: Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry reached out to re-elected members of the Friends of Egypt Caucus last week to congratulate them and express hope in a prompt meeting in Cairo or Washington. “I look forward to your continued efforts in solidifying and advancing the invaluabIe strategic partnership between Egypt and the United States, which remains indispensable for our mutual national interests,” wrote Shoukry, calling it a “fundamental source of stability.” Reps. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) served as co-chairs of the Caucus in the last Congress. Both won re-election. The message was distributed by Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, which the Egyptian embassy in Washington hired in November for $65,000 per month amid concerns that the incoming Joe Biden administration would be less chummy with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi than President Donald Trump. Trump famously called Sisi “my favorite dictator” and supported Egypt in its dispute with Ethiopia over the latter’s new Nile dam.

Egypt assembles bipartisan powerhouse lobbying team for post-Trump era
Ethiopia hires US lobby firm amid rising tensions over Nile dam

Qatar: Lexington Avenue Strategies terminated its $10,000-per-month contract with for the Embassy of Qatar on Dec. 31. The Los Angeles firm had been hired to advise and assist the embassy “in the oversight and administration of the gifts established by the State of Qatar known as the ‘Qatar Harvey Fund’ and ‘Qatar Haiti Fund’.” The only registered agent on the account is Allison Biggs, the firm’s president, treasurer and secretary, who had been representing Qatar since September 2018.

Saudi Arabia: Summit Information Services of Colorado has signed a new $7,500-per-month public relations contract to represent the Embassy of Saudi Arabia via Iowa’s Larson Shannahan Slifka Group (LS2 Group) starting Jan. 1. That’s down from the $10,000 per month in their initial contract from November 2019 but up from the $5,000 per month agreed to in a Sept. 2020 follow-on agreement. Summit is one of nine subcontractors and consultants working for LS2 on Saudi outreach to the US heartland.

Saudis reach out directly to US states amid bipartisan blowback in Washington

United Arab Emirates: Luis Angel Vega Jr. of Alexandria has registered as a foreign agent for Sheikh Marwan Bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, one of the sons of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of the emirate of Dubai. Vega’s registration says he has been asked “through a mutual friend” to “try and help them coordinate meetings with members of Capitol Hill” for Sheikh Marwan. Other attendees are to be assembled through the Dubai Chamber of Commerce. Vega’s registration statement with the US Department of Justice says he is a US citizen born in 1968 who works in “security and intelligence.” He could not be reached for comment.

Caught our eye

The US Government Accountability Office has the lowdown on steps the government thinks federally funded researchers should take to avoid getting entangled in foreign influence operations.

Updated: This post was updated at 5:50 p.m. on Jan. 12 to note that former Sen. Barbara Boxer has deregistered as a foreign agent for Hikvision (US).